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Stories: Meet Our Families

Through shelter, we empower. Meet some of the families who have partnered with Habitat to build or improve the places they call home.

Marandow and Amanda's Story

Every family needs a foundation to build a future.

“It's going to bring them joy to know that they have their own room, their own backyard. It's going to mean the world to them. I am just overjoyed to be able to say ‘that's mine,’ to say that this is my family's home.” – Marandow, new Memphis Habitat homeowner

A new baby. A new house. A new beginning. This holiday season, Marandow and his wife Amanda have so much to celebrate.

Less than 10 years ago, Marandow was homeless and, he’ll admit, headed down a dangerous path. But he turned away from that and to his faith. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you and give you hope and a future.” – is one of his favorite verses. He believes God’s plans for his family included Habitat.

In August, he and Amanda helped build their home during the 2016 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The couple even had the opportunity to build alongside President and Mrs. Carter!


Marandow and Amanda working alongside volunteers during the Carter Work Project.


When asked about that experience and their conversation, Marandow says they talked about a lot of things, including Marandow's past, his work and his hopes for the future. "I never dreamed of me and my family being in the same place as a President! To see these people here serving, getting their hands dirty and trying to help others to have a better life. Just to be in his presence, and just to hear his voice and know that he has a kind heart and how much he loves people. It's just so amazing."

"It's going to be a great Christmas."

Today, Marandow, Amanda and their sons are getting ready for their first Christmas in their first home, a home they own. For them, being able to own a home means they can provide their children with stability and security. And, now that they're free from the cost burden they had at their previous apartment, they're not only excited about the gifts they can give to their children. They're also thinking of ways to give back, such as through ministries at their church. "We're giving instead of receiving this year. It's going to be a great Christmas and New Year's," Marandow says. 

Soon, they and 20 more families will ring in the New Year in homes they built alongside hundreds of volunteers and purchased through Habitat’s affordable mortgage program. But, there are more Memphis-area families who will start 2017 without the sense of stability and security owning a home can provide. They’re in crowded conditions and spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent – sometimes more than 50 percent. You can help change that.

Everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live, a place where they can build their future. Every gift makes a difference. Please give today to help put more families on the road to homeownership.


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